I’d say we live in a prevalent conditional world.
“If you do this for me, then I’ll do that for you.”
“Her words ripped a hole in my heart. I can’t possibly forgive her.”
“He expects me to help him after what he did to me?”
“What’s in this for me?”
I don’t know if I experienced it as a young child, or if I figured out how to use it to create walls around my heart, but living conditionally was how I functioned for years.
Loving others was completely based on how others loved me.
If someone treated me nice, then I would reciprocate.
If another was mean to me, I was mean to him or her.
If someone hurt me, you can believe I held a grudge for nearly forever.
Call it stubborn, bullheaded, uncompassionate, selfish, or unloving.
I treated others the way they treated me.
You can imagine the internal difficulty I experienced when I happened upon a specific truth early in my faith…
This is what our Scriptures come to teach: in everything, in every circumstance, do to others as you would have them do to you. Matthew 7:12 (Voice)
What?? I’m to treat others how I want to be treated? Even if they aren’t nice to me? Even if I feel they don’t deserve it? Even when that person rubs me the wrong way? It has to
start with me??
Talk about a life-altering verse of scripture for this girl!To top it all off, even if I treated someone how I wanted to be treated, there was no guarantee that person would reciprocate. Living in this way—this-no-strings-attached way—was hard for me to swallow. I think I would have rather ate dirt.
no strings attached :: free of conditions, limitations; immeasurable; unending
I can’t remember my first few attempts of changing my behavior, but I’m sure they weren’t pretty. It’s not easy changing something you’ve done for so long, and something you’re good at… either right or wrong. But over time, after many failures, I began to understand living with no strings attached was less about me, and more about others. It was less about me, and more about Jesus.
Living with no strings attached allowed me to love others in ways Jesus loved me.
I’m thankful Jesus’ love isn’t dependent on what I do or don’t do. I’m grateful His love for me isn’t based on how much I love Him or how much I love others. My love could never compare to His.
We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19 NIV
“So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in those same ways.” John 13:34 VOICE
And as a bonus, when we live and love with no strings attached, we experience the beauty of God working through us in ways we couldn’t have experienced otherwise.
Friend, what’s one way you can live and love with no strings attached today? To whom have we withheld forgiveness? Who could use a dose of Jesus’ love? Who can you and I treat in ways we want to be treated? What can we do for another without expecting anything in return?
No, I can’t say I live and love perfectly. I’m still a work in progress. But, even if we do it imperfectly, it’s better than not doing it at all.
I’m praying for each of us today. Thank you for being here, and for walking with me in this journey!
Linking this post with Suzie Eller and friends for #livefreeThursday.
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